Recently, Robert S. Kaplan, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas addressed reporters after the Texas Lyceum conference in Austin. He was answering questions about the 2019 Texas economic outlook. His long term outlook for Texas was very positive, with recommendations on how the state could further outperform the nation economically.
However, Texas is in a position to effectively address the issues due to its current robust economy. “Texas at least has got plenty of money to solve this problem,” he said.
He said he expects the Texas economy to continue to outperform the nation on average “for the foreseeable future,” partly because it is continuing to attract new workers even as many other states are dealing with aging and declining labor forces.
Kaplan touched on a number of other topics at the event in Austin, including the decision by the Federal Reserve to pause what had been a policy stance of gradual interest rate increases in 2019. Kaplan said he thinks the pause was “absolutely the right thing to do” because a number of signals have arisen in recent months indicating the economy could be decelerating, including slower growth in the nation’s workforce and tighter availability of credit.
U.S. economic growth for 2018 is likely to come in at about 3 percent once all the numbers are in, Kaplan said, but he predicted this year’s growth rate will be at about 2 percent.
The Fed needs to “get out of the way for the time being,” he said, and provide “some time to see if the economy can work through those issues.”
In Austin, economic growth appears to be on a similarly strong trend as the state. The latest job growth statistics from the Austin Chamber of Commerce show that the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was the fourth fastest-growing in the country between December 2017 and December 2018.
Austin Job Growth Numbers
- Austin added 36,800 net new jobs, which is a growth rate of 3.5%, in the 12 months ending in December and makes Austin the fourth fastest-growing major metro.
- Wholesale trade was Austin’s fastest growing industry (12.8%) and it also added the most jobs (6,900) over the last 12 months.
- Austin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 2.9%, up from 2.8% in November. Unemployment has been at or below 3.0% for the last 16 months.
Read more about the Austin economy.
Search Austin Area Homes for Sale